Thanks to its darling little round leaves, Sedum rubrotinctum is affectionately known by monikers that may stir up one’s appetite, namely pork and beans and jelly bean plant. The cultivar ‘Aurora’ adds a dimension that has us looking skyward rather than to our bellies. As we understand it, this especially pink and cream version of S. rubrotinctum is named for the dazzling natural light show known as the aurora borealis (northern lights) or aurora australis (southern lights).
This ground-cover form doesn’t much reach for the sky itself, staying to around 6 inches high, but it will spread to 2 to 3 feet wide. ‘Aurora’ roots easily from wherever a stem touches the ground or from fallen leaves, giving you a gorgeous jelly bean mat of pink, light green, cream and apricot. Yellowish white flowers pop in summer.
In the video below, our succulent whisperer Tom Jesch talks up this low-growing spreader’s frosty, atmospheric colors. It just so happens that March is a popular period for aurora hunters, if they don’t already live in aurora-friendly places, to make their way to northern latitude destinations in countries such as Canada, Finland and Iceland for a peek at the northern lights. That’s if they’re fortunate, as it’s kinda hard to see that wondrous wash of color through persistent snowfall or cloud cover. That’s at least partly why communities make weeks or a whole month out of it by staging activities and festivals, like the monthlong Snowking’s Winter Festival in Yellowknife, Canada, 62 degrees north of the equatorial plane.